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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Control Freaks

In the wake of the debt limit deal, a lot of attention now is being focused on the “super-committee,” or whatever you want to call it, of six Democrats and six Republicans that is supposed to come up with a vast deficit reduction package in order to avoid automatic cuts in (mostly) discretionary spending.
Steve Benen notes that a group of six conservative Senators have sent a leader to the GOP leadership demanding that the deliberations of the “super-committee” be held in public and televised. And he wonders about that:

I find this terribly odd. Do these Republican senators not realize the GOP members of the committee will be pushing a wildly unpopular agenda?
We don’t know who’ll serve on this panel, but we can guess with confidence what its members will say. Republicans will argue for deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security, will fight tooth and nail to protect tax breaks for the wealthy and the oil industry. Democrats will largely be doing the opposite.
You don’t have to be a polling expert to know the Democratic approach will enjoy vastly more public support.
If these six GOP senators seriously believe their party would benefit from a more transparent process, they clearly need to get out more.

Steve’s right, but I think he is missing the real motive for this “transparency” demand. Conservatives are always paranoid about Republican leaders selling them out behind closed doors. They want the cameras there not for the benefit of public education or even propaganda, but simply so that they can keep tabs on their negotiators. If that also makes Americans more aware of how extreme some of their ideas are, so be it.
Looking at the big picture, it’s increasingly obvious that a lot of conservatives figure they’re going to win or lose next year not based on anything in particular they say and do, but because of factors like the economy that are essentially beyond their control (not that the policies they are forcing on the country are helping things). So the key goal is to keep iron control of their party so as to maximize their power if the GOP does win the White House and the Senate and holds on to the House.

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